Summit Entertainment Claims To Own The Date November 20, 2009; Issues Takedown On Art Created On That Day

from the hello-ip-fraud dept

Summit Entertainment, the movie studio behind the Twilight films, is no stranger to ridiculous-to-insane overreaches of intellectual property law. In fact, the studio seems to make a habit out of it. The company has sued Zazzle because some of its users made fan art inspired by Twilight. It's shut down a Twilight fanzine. It's said that only it can make a documentary about the real town where the fictional Twilight story is based. It's sued to stop a fashion designer from factually stating that a character in one of the movies wore its jacket. It shut down a silly 8-bit YouTube game. It issued a takedown on a song that was written years before the Twilight movies. It went after Bath & Bodyworks for daring to to sell a body lotion called Twilight Woods, which had nothing to do with the movies. It aggressively sued a fan and pressed criminal charges for tweeting some behind the scenes photos of a Twilight movie. It also sued the guy who registered twilight.com back in 1994.

This is a company that thinks that the world revolves around its trademarks, and it appears to have little concern for what the law actually says.

Its latest move is particularly asinine. The company came across the following lovely image created by artist Kelly Howlett and posted to Zazzle, and issued a takedown.
If you're thinking that image has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Twilight, or any other Summit property, you're entirely correct. But it turns out that Summit Entertainment has decided it owns the date 11-20-09 (that's Kelly's Facebook explanation of what happened, found via Bleeding Cool), which was the date the sketch was created, and what it was tagged with. It also happens to be the date that the Twilight movie New Moon was released.

Summit has no legitimate claim here. At all. And yet it took the artwork down anyway, because that's the kind of IP abusers they are.
Zazzle eventually came to its senses and restored the image, and Howlett is offering it on Society 6 as well. If Summit Entertainment had anyone with a soul working for them, they'd buy a few hundred prints to apologize.

Either way, the company has such a long and consistent history of abusing intellectual property law, isn't there a point at which we just say that the company no longer deserves any such power? If you regularly abuse monopoly privileges, shouldn't they be taken away?

Filed Under: dates, ip abuse, ip fraud, kelly howlett, november 20th, painting, takedowns, trademark
Companies: summit entertainment, zazzle


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  1. identicon
    Nile, 24 Mar 2012 @ 7:18am

    Owning the date? That's so Yesterday.

    How is this News? How is this even surprising?

    They are wealthy and powerful and they have an unlimited legal budget, and you're nobody.

    Enforcing your obedience to your betters is what the courts are *for*.

    Get over it. They can buy the whole of Congress and the Senate if the law doesn't work as it's intended to.

    And it's not like anyone's actually going to vote for a politician who's against personal enrichment and campain funds: there aren't any. At least, none who matter.

    Meanwhile, look for your freedoms elsewhere... And don't test them in London this year by starting a business or publishing an image or running an event with '2012' in or on it: not only can you be sued into oblivion, but warrantless raids by orivate contractors have been authorised to secure all infringeing material. 'Authorised' as in as in: this is the law and the Police will intervene, on request, to beat down resistance and obstruction.

    ...Oh, and the owner of any property so raided is legally ibliged to reimburse the costs.

    Owning the date? That's so Yesterday.

    Someone owns everything you say that intersects a published quote, and probably your genes, your name, and the sound of your breathing. You are infringeing their copyright by existing. And if you can prove that you don't, you can still go bankrupt defending your 'rights' at law.

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